Marion County schools can return to in-person learning on Jan. 4, IPS will wait to assess return date

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INDIANAPOLIS– Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett addressed Marion County residents Thursday afternoon as our city, state and country continue to see rising COVID-19 cases and deaths.

He opened with a plea to Congress to pass further relief similar to the CARES act.

“We need the federal government to act quickly and decisively to provide assistance to families, businesses, first responders and all who are bearing the brunt of this increase in cases,” he said.

Those funds allowed for more personal protective equipment (PPE), food relief, rent relief and more.

In three weeks, Hogsett said the money will be gone.

“Initially inconvenient, it quickly became baffling. Then frustrating, and now unconscionable,” he said. “I am left with no other way to describe it other than deadly.

Hogsett urged Hoosiers to reach out to both Democrat and Republican members of Congress and demand action.

“Further delay is inexcusable,” he said.

He applauded residents who have stepped up to do their part to try and limit the spread of the virus.

Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine said our gold rate for positivity is 5%, and we hit that for two weeks during September.

Our current rate is at 14.6% as of Dec. 2. She said a cause for concern is Marion County is seeing several days of more than 100 new cases, as well as about 6 deaths per day.

Marion County, as well as all surrounding counties, have seen increases in spread.

Caine said seniors have been doing a good job trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The age range of 20-59 now make up 70% of all cases in Marion County.

Caine announced some updates to the public health order for Marion County:

Schools 1st-12th grade can return in person on Jan. 4, so long as:

  • Students and staff can be socially distanced
  • Students and staff wear masks in 3rd grade and above
  • Parents, students and teachers avoid any unneccessary contact outside of their household 10 days prior to the Jan. 4 return.

Initally, schools were expected to return on Jan. 15.

Additionally, group homes will require a negative test 72 hours before indoor visitation. Previous restrictions under the health order remain in effect.

After the briefing Indianapolis Public Schools issued a statement that said it does not anticipate returning to in-person learning on January 4.

Read the full statement from IPS here:

IPS does not anticipate shifting back to in-person learning on January 4 at this time. We believe it will be critical to assess the conditions and data after the Winter Break in order to make a determination if it is safe to return to in-person learning prior to the already scheduled January 19 date. 

The safety of our students and staff continues to be our top priority. We will continue to leverage our return to in-person learning framework approved by the IPS Board of School Commissioners in October.

On Friday, the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township announced schools will remain fully virtual until Tuesday, January 19 as well.

As of Friday, Warren Township schools will remain virtual until at least January 15.

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